December 19, 2011 15:22 ET's Travel-Intel Looks at the "E" Factor in 2012 and Why U.S. Tour Companies Are So Optimistic

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 19, 2011) - So what's the "E" Factor and what do 45 companies and 150 tour brands have to do with it? That's a mystery's Travel-Intel unravels in its most recent issue. The newsletter or "travelzine" that is emailed to more than 100,000 permission-based travel sellers in the U.S. and Canada brings the results of a very telling survey to light. The U.S. Tour Operators Association (USTOA), a 40-year-old association of tour companies in the United States, surveyed its members to find steady growth, strong incidents of hiring and strong indications of 2012 booking numbers that will well surpass numbers of the past two years.

Of trends in travel and types of tours people are taking, the survey found the "E" factor, or experience-driven tours, to predominate the types of tours requested -- especially by baby boomers, who comprise the largest customer segment for tour companies.

Travel-Intel also looks at three luxe hideaways in New Zealand: The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs, and Matakauri Lodge for those who want to consider a nine-day, high end New Zealand package staying three properties, each with its own distinctive personality of place.

A third story looks at travel according to film sets around the world and notes travel packages offered by leading tour companies that showcase the castle setting for the Harry Potter series, or Sweden according to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Costa Rica also captures some of Travel-Intel's ink this issue with a look at the growing cruise market there and what types of daring eco adventures cruise passengers can book from ports in Limon and Puntarenas.

Finally, Travel-Intel offers helpful advice to small business owners just starting out, whether they are travel agents or tour operators, with an expert's guide to avoiding the "crash and burn" syndrome.

"Travel-Intel brings news, reviews and important information to travel agents and those engaged with the job of selling travel," says Travel-Intel founder and director of content, Lark Ellen Gould. "The world is big and agents cannot be everywhere, so we try to assist with compelling and useful stories that inform as well as guide."

Gould, a veteran travel journalist who has been covering the travel industry for more than 20 years, brings her incisive perspective to the publication and emails it on the 1st and 15th of each month to more 103,000 travel agents in the U.S. and Canada, before posting the travelzine on and Travel-Intel also partners with CanadaScope and Britain Magazine for easy access to added sources of information. is the worldwide directory of travel. The comprehensive travel website has been operating since 1995 with a deep and searchable database of tours and tour companies according to region and experience. features the most comprehensive data base of tour and vacation operators worldwide. It is also a one-stop resource for visa information, important phone numbers for travelers, regional experts, and travel agents certified with in-depth knowledge in their chosen areas.

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